Stanton Social (LES)

Stanton Social LES

  • Why it’s worth it: Small plates served in a chic, swanky setting are a major trend in NYC, and The Stanton Social capitalizes on it. The Stanton Social doesn’t have designated entrees or apps, but instead has scores of dishes to be shared, offering ‘straunters a chance to taste a plethora of items. A glitzy and trendy spot, The Stanton Social is a place to see-and-be-seen.
  • Vibe/layout: The first floor of this ‘straunt’s posh three-tiered space boasts a vast, tall and dimly lit dining room with brown banquettes, romantic dark wood and suspended glass lamps. Not in the mood to eat small plates, and just want a drink in the setting? No problem, the upstairs lounge is a shrine to wine.
  • Top three sharing dishes: French onion soup dumplings ($14), old school meatballs ($14) and potato & goat cheese pierogies ($10)
    • The French onion soup dumplings are out of this world. The nice doughy-dumplings with French onion soup oozing out will not disappoint.
    • Be sure to save room for the warm balls of yummy goodness dusted in cinnamon sugar…aka the warm doughnuts.
  • F.Y.I.: Chef Chris Santos is also the owner of Beauty and Essex, another clutch LES brunch and dinner hot spot.
  • Address: Lower East Side, 99 Stanton St (Stanton & Ludlow)
  • Prices: $7-$26

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Good Enough to Eat (UWS): Brunch

Good Enough to Eat UWS Brunch

  • Why it’s worth it: Good Enough to Eat (GETE) is the perfect brunch spot for a family outing on the UWS before exploring the American Museum of Natural History or spending the afternoon in Central Park. The atmosphere is fun and loving and the American comfort food menu is expansive.
  • Vibe/layout: GETE rocks that small country kitchen feel, with exposed brick and wooden tables, chairs and shelving, filled with random tchotchkes, Vermont farm paraphernalia and children’s drawings. The rustic farmhouse decor is warm and welcoming and GETE has all sorts of seating options, including booths, breakfast nooks, bar seating and outdoor seating.
  • Ideal meal: Good Enough to Eat French Toast ($10.75)…Did we mention that they make their French toast with cinnamon swirl bread (a third-grader’s dream)?! Also, don’t miss the buttermilk biscuits and luscious strawberry butter, which come with an eggs dish!
  • F.Y.I.: You can’t miss GETE’s cow theme…so be sure to notice the portraits of cows in the restrooms, Angus Warhol and Henri Mootisse.
  • Address: Upper West Side, 520 Columbus Ave (85th & Columbus)
  • Prices: $8-$14

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Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria (Noho/Greenwich Village): Mangia Monday

Photos by Cara Garcia-Bou

Photos by Cara Garcia-Bou

  • Why it’s worth it: Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria masters the mash-up of restaurant and market; one pops in to browse, and one sticks around for a meal. Known for its in house-cured meats and home baked bread, Il Buco AV, Il Buco‘s casual spin-off, is perfect for grabbing Aperitivo with friends, co-workers and/or family. Plain and simple, the drinks and salumi della casa are top notch.
  • Vibe/layout: This casual, bright and simple Italian spot serves rustic Italian fare in a perfectly complimentary setting: terra-cotta floor tiles, handblown wine bottles, rickety chairs. Separated from the dimly lit dining room by a wall of Modena vinegar barrels, the front Alimentari grocery section offers curated dry goods and loaves of Italian bread baked in-house and features high-end sauces and condiments arrayed on antique wooden shelves.
  • Ideal meal: To drink, order either the refreshing Negroni Sbagliato (prosecco, campari, sweet vermouth) ($14) or the crisp Italiano Fresco (dry vermouth, soda, cucumber lime, basil) ($15). To eat, we cannot rave enough about the salumi della casa: the bits of peppery salami were superb and the fat on the prosciutto was tender and dissolved in a rush of salty, porky flavor. Each meat was unique and delicious.
  • F.Y.I.: Donna Lennard’s ‘straunt is located at the original site of the Great Jones Lumber Supply and recuperated joists from the original structure were incorporated into the design: bar paneling, banquette benches, tables and cutting boards. In addition, traces of the original lumber yard graffiti are still visible on the brick walls.
  • ‘Straunt tip: Artist Warren Muller’s studio used to be located in the Il Buco space; today, one can see his giant sculptural lamp hanging from the second floor dining room in Il Buco AV.
  • Address: Noho/Greenwich Village, 53 Great Jones St. (Between Lafayette & Bowery)
  • Prices: $8-$34

A little something extra:

  • A few weeks ago, we were fortunate enough to attend the launch party for this ‘straunt’s Aperitivo. The menu was fabulous and the dishes were wholesomely delicious. The spontaneous spirit of this ‘straunt and the open kitchen’s wood-burning aromas left us sniffing and begging for more. Bravo Chef Joel Hough and team!

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The Garret (West Village): Speakeasy

The Garret Speakeasy West Village

  • Getting in: Do your best to make it past the delicious wafting scent of french fries and burgers, as you must walk into the Bleecker St Five Guys, go past the tables, the condiment stand, and the burger ordering station and make your way to the back staircase.
  • Vibe/layout: This impossible-to-find-unless-you’re-looking-for-it cocktail bar is hidden above a Five Guys, and features two massive vaulted skylights, a glass chandelier, several couches and vintage hourglasses. In addition, The Garret has a sunken private party room decked out with a taxidermied rhino head and copper ceilings. The best part about The Garret…besides the cocktails and the fact that you can snag a burger at literally any time: the pop-in breeziness…no reservations are needed.
  • Drinks: Signature cocktails are made from fresh ingredients right before your eyes, but we highly recommend the Sunken Santa (rum, pineapple, velvet falernum, St. Elizabeth allspice dram, angostura) ($14).
  • F.Y.I.: This speakeasy proudly displays the artwork of NYC based artists, including Bradley Theodore (the swans and skull paintings), Nick Bakita (the rhino head), Philip Mortillaro (the door) and Nathan Driver (painting).
  • ‘Straunt tip: Grab dinner at Jeffrey’s Grocery and then grab a drink here!
  • Address: West Village, 296 Bleecker St (7th Ave S & Bleecker)
  • Prices: $7-$14

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Trattoria Il Mulino (Flatiron/Gramercy): Mangia Monday

TrattoriaIlMulino (1)

  • Why it’s worth it: Trattoria Il Mulino is the twelfth addition to Il Mulino New York’s global network of elite dining venues. This ‘straunt is the more casual, affordable and louder sister to Il Mulino New York, and is therefore an ideal intimate Italian ‘straunt for your next small or large dining party, date night or girls night out.
  • Vibe/layout: This spacious 140-seat ‘straunt baits a young demographic, and is unique in boasting an industrial chic atmosphere. Decked out with industrial accents, including concrete walls, exposed piping and light bulbs and a large NYC-themed mural by Vancouver artist, Tim Barnard, this ‘straunt offers an intimate dining setting for both small and large parties. The front section features tables for two, while the back section presents a sleek and sexy bar, which offers wood-fired pizzas as part of its late-night bar menu, and circular and rectangular dining tables for larger parties.
  • Ideal meal: Ricotta meatballs ($17) to start and ravioli ($26)
  • ‘Straunt tip: Grab dinner at Trattoria Il Mulino and then check out nearby speakeasy, Dear Irving.
  • Address: Flatiron/Gramercy, 36 East 20th St (between Park S & Broadway)
  • Prices: $10-$38

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Il Buco (Noho): Mangia Monday

Il Buco Noho Italian

  • Why it’s worth it: Il Buco has it right; it’s slinky and seductive while still maintaining a charming accessibility and air. The seasonal food is extremely fresh and executed with skill and perfection. In short, Il Buco is perfect for a date night, ladies night out, after-work drink or family gathering.
  • Vibe/layout: This charming rustic Italian ‘straunt comprised mostly of wood and brick throbs with energy. The dimly lit main dining room has pottery-laden shelves, scattered with wine bottles, and copper pots hanging from hooks or stuffed in the corners. The eclectic wall art and light fixtures transform the rather cramped room with low ceilings into a fabulous authentic Italian ‘straunt. The wine cellar is more relaxed and private, and reminiscent of a room that you would expect to find in the basement of an old Italian estate.
  • Ideal meal: Cannolicchi (artisan dried pasta, brussels sprouts, pancetta, pecorino romano) ($22)
  • People behind Il Buco: The owners, Donna Lennard and Alberto Avalle, first opened the hole-in-the-wall (Il Buco literally means the hole in Italian) as an antique shop in 1994 and gradually transformed it into a full-fledged restaurant.
  • ‘Straunt tip: Enjoy a delicious, romantic and relaxed dinner at Il Buco and then check out the Invader’s graffiti on the side of The Wren, where you should grab a drink.
  • F.Y.I.: Reservations are a must, especially on the weekends.
  • Address: Noho/Greenwich Village, 47 Bond St (between Bowery & Lafayette)
  • Prices: $10-$38

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Friedman’s Lunch (Midtown West)

Friedman's Lunch Midtown West

  • Why it’s worth it: Although the name of this casual eatery promises lunch, Friedman’s Lunch also serves brunch and dinner with a focus on seasonal comfort food and an extensive list of great gluten-free items.
  • Vibe/layout: Despite the noisy neighborhood, the ‘straunt is clean, modern and spacious and the atmosphere is warm and cozy . The ‘straunt sports a rustic, brick-and-wood theme with a large bar and a number of booths and table seats available for large groups.
  • Ideal meal: Grilled cheese sandwich (Gruyère and white cheddar with caramelized onions and bacon on ciabatta) ($13) & tomato soup ($3)
  • People behind Friedman’s Lunch: Vanessa Phillips and Tryg Silverson are the husband and wife team behind this ‘straunt and because Vanessa has Celiac Disease, Tryg set out to create as many gluten-free, yet delicious, dishes as possible.
  • Address: West Midtown, 132 West 31st St (between 6th and 7th Ave)
  • Prices: $5-$16

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